On October 23rd, 2014, we updated our
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U.S. State Department asked Twitter to hold off on server maintenance to ensure Twitter was available to protestors
One Former US Security Advisor claimed "without Twitter the people of Iran would not have felt empowered and confidant to stand up for freedom and democracy."
Iran 2009: Aftermath
Not at all clear twitter played a role in organizing protests
English language accounts got far more attention than those in Farsi and Persian
Iranian government cracked down hard on internet connections
Later research suggested word of mouth was the most important technology
Iran 2009: Aftermath
Twitter probably DID play a role in spreading word of events on the ground outside Iran
Images and video spread rapidly
BUT the effect of this publicity is unclear
Hacktivist DDOS attacks had ironic results
Government used shared images to identify and prosecute protesters
Twitter is paying close attention to ongoing events in Egypt
#reasonsmubarakislate was top trending hashtag yesterday afternoon
@acarvin has tweeted thousands of updates from activists on the ground
Considerable evidence blogs and social media have helped activists organize
Does the focus on technology unfairly attribute social change brought about by Egyptian people to Western corporations?
@acarvin “Yes, social media played a role in #jan25. But don't call this the Twitter or FB revolution. Real people protested and died. It's theirs.”
What role will the geeks play now? What happens next
Gabriella Coleman: “I can't but help think to 1883 and the telegraph and Krakatoa, which many hailed as the first global media event that allowed many folks scattered across the globe to witness as some level something thousands and thousands of miles away.”
Questions about Co-Witnessing Egypt
What role might global witnesses have played in the events that have just unfolded?
What does it mean that witnessing via Twitter is mediated by Twitter culture?
@WarrenEllis: Mubarak: "I will not leave Egypt until I die." Egypt: "WE CAN TOTALLY HELP YOU WITH THAT."